Deputy Speaker of the House of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has said that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was happy to see Ndi Igbo gather together for the noble cause of stamping out insecurity and resolving other sociological challenges through the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P).
It will be recalled that PISE-P, a brainchild of the deputy speaker was recently launched in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.
Speaking during an interactive session with the members of Bende Traditional Rulers Council and Ndi Ugoeze Bende on Friday in Bende, Kalu said that Tinubu is interested in the development of the south east.
He urged the traditional rulers to support the government of the day to reap more benefits therefrom.
He said: “Wherever Ndi Igbo see themselves, they encourage peace and harmony. We thank you for holding these values. I am your representative in the House of Representatives. I did not get there on my own. It was you that elected me. And this is why Abia state honored me. A few days ago, the Governor of the state, Dr. Alex Otti who is not a member of my party decided to honour me with a high title in Abia. He told the Abia State traditional rulers council to confer on me ‘Enyi Abia” (Strength of Abia). He must have seen something in your son.
“A day after that day, you saw what happened in Bende. It has never happened before. President Tinubu represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the Senate President represented by his deputy, my boss, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the governor of the State, Dr. Alex Otti, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State,
Other governors who couldn’t make it in person came through their deputies.
“The Ooni of Ife, Emir of Kano, Emir of Bichi, Obi of Onitsha, over 15 Igbo billionaires were in Bende. I can go on and on.
“On this position, we are just starting work. The President called to say I am very, very happy that the Igbo came together for this. Truly, there is hope for Igbo man. It does appear that this handshake across the Niger has started.
“Let’s us also support the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Some were afraid whether he will remember the Igbo. But he has proved all of us wrong by choosing the Chief of Naval Staff. The President also handed over the issue of Infrastructure into the hands of an Igbo son, Senator David Umahi, my friend, the former governor of Ebonyi to replicate what he did in Ebonyi in Nigeria. There are others too. A President who does not love Ndi Igbo will not do that”.
Kalu also called on the traditional rulers to support the government of Dr. Alex Otti of Abia to develop the state.
“We will assist the governor of the state to take care of you. The truth is that he has a good heart. He is committed to getting the job done and we should support him to be successful. Let us come together and support him. Let us support him to succeed for the good of the state”, he said.
Kalu who was meeting with the traditional rulers for the first time since his election as the deputy speaker on June 13, 2023 appreciated the traditional rulers for their support.
He promised to attract more dividends of democracy to Bende, pledging not to disappoint them.
“I said that it won’t be nice if I leave for Abuja after all we did without interacting with you. So, I decided to call you to honour you. There is no position that will make me forget you. I will never disrespect you. You are our traditional rulers and I respect you all. And it will continue that way.
“It is my ritual to interact with you on the needs of the people. If you don’t have your list, please, go and bring it. We want to be pragmatic and sensitive to our priorities. You are the stakeholders in Bende. You came to show that I am your treasured son. I will not disappoint you.
“We need to reflect the actual needs of Ndi Bende. What I want to do for Ndi Bende should be a consensus between us. I think this is the best approach.
“I think this is the first time we are meeting this way since my election as the deputy speaker. The story started gradually and you believed in me. The 360 members saw it and believed in me too. On that day of inauguration, the 360 members elected me unopposed.
“Thank you for sending me to Abuja because I woundnt have been there if you didn’t elect me.
“The benefits of your work will come to you. I will not disappoint you. I don’t want to make many promises but in the days to come, I will appreciate you better.”
Kalu also enjoined the monarchs to support PISE-P and the newly passed South East Development Commission bill in the House of Representatives.
“Again, I am tired of the blood of my brothers flowing on the streets. I am saying, let’s us try another way of resolving our issues. Non kinetic is the way. And soon, you will see what peace in South East Project will achieve.
“It is high time the Igbo joined the mainstream of political leadership of the country. Please, continue to pray for us. Be a part of the South East Development Commission. Please, be a part of PISE-P. You have a role to play”, he said.
Making a donation of some bags of rice and a token for their new year celebrations, Kalu also pledged to provide them with a bus to assist them in discharging their responsibilities.
Responding on behalf of the traditional rulers, the Chairman, Bende Traditional Rulers Council, His Royal Highness, Eze Uchendu Okorie said they will support Tinubu’s government and follow their son wherever he goes.
“We will support President Tinubu. We will go wherever he goes. We will follow our son where he goes. We have not had it so good like this before. He is a man of wisdom, an orator. We will help him to go higher. Yes, he’s in the House right now but we want him to go higher. In the next dispensation, let’s us try to see whether he will go higher. He has the capacity to do what is right. God will continue to uplift him. He’s not doing it for himself. He’s doing it for Bende. We will continue to go with him”, he said.
The traditional rulers and their wives offered special prayers for Hon.Kalu.